MAN TO MAN – Touring ★★★★

In Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews, Scotland, Touring by Thom DibdinLeave a Comment

Touring – reviewed at Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Guest reviewer: Hugh Simpson

Imaginative staging and superb acting give Man To Man at the Traverse a fascination that cannot prevent it from running out of steam slightly before the end.

Manfred Karge’s one-woman show about Ella Gericke, a woman forced by financial necessity to impersonate her dead husband in 1930s Germany, had a notable previous run at the Traverse in 1987 that brought Tilda Swinton to prominence. This new version by Wales Millennium Centre also features a magnetic actor.

Maggie Bain’s performance is as compelling and accomplished as any you are likely to see. Impressively physical, she switches from character to character, giving each due weight and life, making complicated techniques look as easy as breathing, but making the business of living look suitably difficult.

Directors Bruce Guthrie and Scott Gorham provide a spectacularly varied context for Bain, utilising Richard Kent’s excellent set to the full. Rick Fisher’s lighting, Mike Walker’s sound and Andrzej Goulding’s magnificent projections add to an experience that cannot be faulted on a technical level.

Alexandra Wood’s translation is so clever and natural-sounding that the odd moments that seem to have got stuck in an over-literal rendering of the German do stick out.

Anyone whose memory goes back as far as that production with Tilda Swinton might be surprised at the mention of the fall of the Berlin Wall. This is a slightly updated version of the original, which seems unnecessary and suffers from a lack of cohesion in the last quarter.

tricksy

There is an inescapable feeling that it is ten minutes too long, and that it features one piece too many of clever staging, that ends up seeming tricksy for its own sake rather than adding to the atmosphere.
http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

This all reinforces the nagging doubts about the material. It may have been groundbreaking once. Now, compared to some of the explorations of gender and identity the Traverse in particular has recently witnessed, it seems a resolutely 1980s male perspective.

Eva in the end is not a woman inhabiting a male body, but a woman impersonating a man, and a woman who deep down – guess what? – wants to be compared to a princess.

None of this should take away from Bain’s performance, which remains an astonishing feat and is largely equalled by the verve and invention of the staging.

Running time 1 hour 15 minutes (no interval)
Traverse Theatre, 10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED
Wednesday 11 – Saturday 14 October 2017
Daily at 7.30 pm, Matinee Saturday 2.30 pm
Information and tickets: https://www.traverse.co.uk/whats-on/event-detail/1258/man-to-man.aspx

Man to Man on tour:

Oct 11 – 14
Edinburgh
Traverse
0131 228 1404
Book online

Oct 17 – 18
Newcastle
Northern Stage
0191 230 5151
Book online

Oct 25 – 28
Liverpool
Everyman Theatre
0151 709 4776
Book online

Nov 7 – 11
New York
Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)
(718)-636-4182
Book online

ENDS

Thom Dibdin on FacebookThom Dibdin on RssThom Dibdin on Twitter
Thom Dibdin
Thom Dibdin has been reviewing and writing about theatre in Scotland since the last millennium. He is currently Scotland Correspondent for The Stage newspaper. In 2010, he founded AllEdinburghTheatre.com. The city's only dedicated theatre website, it covers all Edinburgh theatre year-round - and all theatre made in Edinburgh during EdFringe. Thom is passionate about quality in theatre criticism and is a member of the Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland. He tweets from @AllEdinTheatre and, personally, from @ThomDibdin.
Read more...

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thom Dibdin on FacebookThom Dibdin on RssThom Dibdin on Twitter
Thom Dibdin
Thom Dibdin has been reviewing and writing about theatre in Scotland since the last millennium. He is currently Scotland Correspondent for The Stage newspaper. In 2010, he founded AllEdinburghTheatre.com. The city's only dedicated theatre website, it covers all Edinburgh theatre year-round - and all theatre made in Edinburgh during EdFringe. Thom is passionate about quality in theatre criticism and is a member of the Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland. He tweets from @AllEdinTheatre and, personally, from @ThomDibdin.

Leave a Comment